BISMARCK, N.D. — The Grant County/Flasher Storm are coming off of their second straight state quarterfinals appearance. After falling to New Salem in the playoffs a year ago, and graduating a key core of seniors, the Storm are ready to see the young players make the leap to the varsity level.

“A lot of those guys were two and three year starters,” head coach Jamie Krenz says. “But the exciting thing for us is that we got 30 plus kids out on the team and that’s really good numbers for us, and it’s their turn to step up for us and get the opportunity to play. So, these kids are excited. They’ve been working very hard.”

A key returner for the Storm is all-state quarterback Javin Friesz. After combining for 24 touchdowns a season ago, the dual threat QB is embracing a larger leadership role by emphasizing the little things.

“Getting on the field early, you know,” Friesz says. “Making sure the guys know what they’re doing. Helping out the young ones. If they have questions, they can come to us seniors. The little things like that that help build on our season.”

“He’s a fantastic leader,” Krenz adds. “Gets us in the right plays, right positions. And we’re just looking to build on last year and keep things rolling.”

After suffering a season-ending injury on the first snap a year ago, Weston Zacher returns to the team with experience working with the younger players.

“Last year when I got injured, I had to help with coaching the younger kids a lot,” Zacher says. “So, I got to work with them when they were going up against our varsity team. So, I got to work with them, see how they play, know what they do, and help them.”

After not having Zacher on the field in 2022, the coaches are excited to see him on the field this year.

“He’s all-state caliber type of kid. He’s 6’7, 250-plus ponds,” Krenz says. “I think he got to see the game from a different lense last year by helping us out as a coaching staff and we’re really looking forward to him excelling this year for the storm.”

Despite the losses of six two-way starters from last season, the standards remain the same for the Storm.

Grant County/Flasher opens their season at the Region 4 Rumble against Richardton-Taylor at Starion Sports Complex in Mandan. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. central time.